7 Fitness Acessories For Your Utility belt.
In your journey to becoming a superhero, make sure you bring a great utility belt. Bring these accessories to the gym to help you over humps, and make big progress.We’ve seen all sorts of crazy looking things in the gym, whether it’s from the dumbbell rack or the ellipticals. We’ve seen oxygen masks, claws, chalk, Cobra Commander suits, and things that we thought came from the All-Spark. In this piece, we’re just going to talk about the ones that can help you without doing a drop set on your checking account.
Knee or Elbow Sleeves
While you may not have any injuries, and you’re one of those lucky people who hasn’t torn a muscle or had joint inflammation, sleeves and other compression gear can help keep them that way. Joints tend to like to be greasy, and as your bones slowly move and begin stretching the muscles around them, little pockets of synovial fluid, an oil for your joints (where your bones connect) help grease the area to keep movement pain and damage free.
If you add sleeves, the looser version of the more supportive Knee wrap, to the elbow or knee joints, you can keep them healthy as you push them through heavy or frequent extension patterns. You see these commonly in both bench and shoulder presses, as well as squats and often the sumo deadlift. Needless to say powerlifters and olympic lifters use them too, and help keep their monstrous personal records growing. With that much weight on a bar, you sometimes need extra support. Why shouldn’t you?
The knee wraps are another alternative to knee sleeves, but if you’re using them to actually prepare for a powerlifting meet of any kind, keep in mind using wraps would put you in a different competitive class. In most governing bodies, you’d be at least in the Raw with wraps division, not just Raw powerlifting.
Chalk, but you can settle for the liquid kind
Grip strength is one of the biggest restraints in getting stronger, and really boosting your game with resistance training, aka, bars, dumbbells, cables, and other heavy things. Having sweaty hands makes holding on to all of this equipment even harder, so dry your hands for a big day of lifting. Understandably, regular chalk is often banned in gyms, as it get’s messy, and is a huge pain for those who have to vacuum. While I can’t say this has bothered me enough to avoid it, if it would for you,science has given us alternatives! Liquid Grip is a great brand for this, but it’s not the only one. I’ve tried several different brands, and generic versions of the original, and they all hold up pretty well. The Beastly Chalk pictured below was also a part of an awesome BOGO sale on Amazon too.
Wrist Straps for When Your Grip Isn’t up to Par
Wrist Straps (sometimes confused with wrist wraps, though often combined) are by no means a use-all-of-the-time accessory, but they can help you grow in other places where your grip is failing first. If you know you could get more reps on a roll or pull down/up if your hands weren’t slipping, wrist wraps could help you blow past this limit. It’s also known for helping your legs grow, when you can get more reps on your heavy deadlifts of any kind. Usually, past where your grip would normally fail, other parts of your body would have to bear the resistance more prominently, which helps you target those muscle groups even more. If you’re eliminating the problem of grip slightly, now you can keep going on bent over rows, shrugs, and deadlifts until either your traps, shoulders, or legs feel the fatigue. This allows you to work your bigger glamour muscles a lot more. Don’t neglect your grip though. If you always lift every weight with wraps, don’t be angry at anyone but yourself when you have rigatoni forearms.
By the way, this is what I (and probably most others) consider to be a wrist wrap, as it “wraps” around your wrist to compress wrists under heavy load, as opposed to “strapping” a weight to your wrist. That’s my personal take on the jargon debate, if there even is one.
Fatten up your grip strength also
The brand that definitely started the “thicker grip” movement, or at least brought attention to it
On the other hand, there’s other ways to eliminate grip excuses. Instead of ignoring them like you can up to a certain point, some days you have to target your forearms specifically. There’s been grip attachment made that actually makes your forearms work harder. Fat Gripz come to mind, though recently, cheaper, or generic brands have started to hit the scene. I personally own a pair of Globe Gripz, as well as a generic fat grip’s alternative, and they’ve definitely upped my double overhand grip strength on most major lifts, life Pendlay Rows and Deadlifts.
When your dropping rows and deadlifts out of your hands, drop the weight to a fraction of the original, and start trying to pull the same amount of reps while holding onto one of these attachments, which basically make the barbell or dumbbell feel wider and harder to hold. You can really feel the added burn of these on shrugs, Romanian deadlifts, curls, and other grip intensive lifts.
The Right Headphones for the Job
Sometimes, the jams can get you jammed, and not having them isn’t always an option either, depending on what motivates you. Regardless, if your massive noise isolating headphones are falling off your face when you squat, you’re going to want a different pair, or you’re going to have to settle with the gym’s radio. I’ve had fine success with wired earbuds, but wireless definitely allows for more athleticism without damaging your equipment. Invest in a steady, working pair of headphones once, and let the tunes keep you in the groove throughout your entire fitness journey….Unless music just isn’t a part of your routine. Some people like Yoga-like focus, I get it. If you’re not one of those people,a rugged pair of headphones would be very beneficial if you always break your ear-pieces. They can take a bit more of a beating. I’ve personally needed to ditch headphones that have anything hanging from them besides what needs to be in my ear. My new ones look like minimalist ear plugs, like these.
I have no complaints, but in the end of the day, I think ergonomics are just as, if not more important than putting a sub-woofer on your face.
A Good Chalice, Fit for the Ruler of the Gym
But seriously, stay hydrated with the right bottle. You would be annoyed at how many times you would have to walk to the water fountain to get the right amount of water you need for optimal performance. It’s quite a bit actually, as most people don’t hydrate during exercise as much as they should. Some shaker bottles also are great for when you want to mix up your post-workout protein shake after. You don’t have to go crazy and buy a battery-powered blender bottle, but you can if it helps keep your protein consumption high, and assures you that you won’t miss your anabolic window (which research still can’t prove to be a real thing).….or if you really hate chalky chunks of pre-workout.
Insulated, or “stays cool longer than leg day soreness lasts,” water bottles, are coming out in droves now. If you’re always on the run and want to keep your water refreshing, look into these. I’m only hypothetically raving about them, because the “on-the-go” thing would never happen. I guzzle water like whales guzzle krill. The water just doesn’t need to stay cold for long in my case.
Having elastics of different varieties are a great tool to have in your arsenal. You can use them to change your resistance work on a barbell or plate loaded machine (Safety first, always make sure bands are secured safely).
You can also change force angles of other lifts to make them more effective. Paul Carter from tnation.com wrote about this topic, and made this video below, which shows how much pullovers can be improved, or amplified by adding additional forces to it.
Bands are also great for rehabillitative and prehabillitative exercises. Powerlifters, runners, weightlifters, and even therapy professionals implement some type of banded exercises into their training programs. Why haven’t you started?
It may take some time to find the right tools for your utility belt, but when you find what works for you, get ready to smash past your goals.
In your journey to becoming a superhero, make sure you bring a great utility belt. Bring these accessories to the gym to help you over humps, and make big progress.
BONUS: Important piece of equipment number 8,
one gnarly gym bag.
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